Slaughter Announces Grant for IGNITE to Combat Domestic Violence in the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community
WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (NY-25) today announced that IGNITE has been awarded a $325,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice through the Underserved Program for training and services to combat violence in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Slaughter was an original author of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994 and has fought hard for subsequent reauthorizations expanding the scope of the law in 2000, 2005, and most recently in 2013. This landmark law will celebrate its 23rd anniversary this week, on September 13th.
“This week will mark the 23rd anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act. I’m proud to be a co-author of this landmark law, which has empowered survivors to speak out and seek assistance from organizations like IGNITE. This award from the Department of Justice will ensure that survivors in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community across Monroe County have the resources they need. This is especially important since Rochester is home to the nation’s largest deaf population,” said Slaughter.
"On behalf of the IGNITE and RESTORE teams, we are absolutely thrilled to receive this funding which will allow for us to strengthen our collaborative work in supporting Deaf Survivors of sexual assault. As always, we are deeply appreciative and grateful for Congresswoman Slaughter's fierce commitment and support to end domestic and sexual violence," said Erin Esposito, Executive Director at IGNITE.
IGNITE, formerly Advocacy Services for Abused Deaf Victims (ASADV), provides services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. With this two-year award, they will be working with the RESTORE program to provide free and confidential crisis counseling and 24-hour hotline services to sexual assault survivors and their loved ones. This funding will help support four part-time IGNITE staff members, support a new full-time RESTORE staff member, and provide services to more than 120 deaf survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Slaughter is an original author of the landmark VAWA law, which has reduced cases of domestic violence by 67 percent since 1994. In 2013, Slaughter was a major force in the expansion of VAWA to protect Native Americans and LGBT partners, and fully protect immigrant women under the law.
This week marks the 23rd anniversary of VAWA. This law changed the culture with regard to domestic violence. Before VAWA, domestic violence was a private matter that was not discussed in the media or in the halls of Congress. The original debate around VAWA elevated public awareness, brought women out of the shadows and let survivors everywhere know they were not alone. As a result of that cultural shift, public pressure has mounted on institutions from universities to the U.S. Military to the National Football League to combat domestic violence and sexual assault.
The congresswoman also led the charge to protect access to healthcare for women who had been abused. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, which Slaughter brought the House Floor as chairwoman of the House Committee on Rules, eight states and the District of Columbia allowed insurance companies to label domestic violence as a pre-existing condition and used it as justification to drop coverage. By this logic, if a partner had been abused once, they would be abused again and would be too expensive to ensure. The Affordable Care Act outlawed that insidious practice nationwide.
Slaughter has a long history of supporting Rochester’s deaf and hard-of-hearing community—the nation’s largest on a per-capita basis. In 2010, Rochester Institute of Technology honored Slaughter with their most prestigious Presidential Medallion for her work on behalf of Rochester-area students, especially those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Also in 2010, Slaughter announced an innovative partnership between NTID, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester General Health System, and Gallaudet University to increase the participation of the deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans in the healthcare industry. Last year, Slaughter announced a $820,504 grant to Rochester Institute of Technology to create a new curriculum for mobile app development that is being developed and initially offered at the NTID.